Fresh-baked bread is something I wish all adults knew how to make. The smell in your house is tantalizing, and it is a satisfying, tactile task. I’m not sure if it was the old recipe or the yeast, but I was craving bread about a year ago and three attempts in a row failed. It is a dismal kitchen failure when you spend hours mixing, kneading, and proofing dough – only to end up with a loaf as dense as a brick.
Then, I stumbled on this recipe for a crusty loaf of bread that rises overnight, no kneading required! I’ve made it at least a dozen times successfully. It is a fairly flexible recipe, minimal ingredients needed, and easy to double if you want 2 loaves instead of one. The bread has a crusty exterior, but the inside is soft and the longer you let the bread sit the lighter the loaf will be.
3 c. all purpose flour
1 3/4 t. salt
1/2 t. yeast
1 1/2 c. water
In a large bowl, stir flour, salt, and yeast together. Add water and mix well with a fork*.
(Dough will be fairly wet and sticky.) Cover the bowl with plastic wrap for 12-24 hours at room temperature.
Preheat oven to 450 F. Heat a large pot with a lid** for 30 minutes. Meanwhile, pour dough onto a heavily floured surface and shape into a loaf. Cover with the same plastic wrap while the pot is heating.
Remove the pot and carefully place dough inside. Place the pot back into the oven and bake covered for 30 minutes. Remove the lid and bake for another 15 minutes uncovered.
Cool on a cooling rack.
*Add in rosemary + gruyere, or jalepenos + cheddar, or poppy seeds, if you want!
** I use a dutch oven
lined with parchment paper to minimize clean-up.